Two former US ambassadors to Israel sign letter opposing Trump
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Two former US ambassadors to Israel sign letter opposing Trump

Thomas Pickering and Dan Kurtzer join 73 other retired diplomats to castigate Republican nominee and endorse Clinton

Eric Cortellessa covers American politics for The Times of Israel.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump steps off his plane after arriving for a campaign rally at Germain Arena, Monday, Sept. 19, 2016, in Ft. Myers, Fla. (AP/ Evan Vucci)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump steps off his plane after arriving for a campaign rally at Germain Arena, Monday, Sept. 19, 2016, in Ft. Myers, Fla. (AP/ Evan Vucci)

NEW YORK — Two former US ambassadors to Israel joined 73 other retired US foreign service officers, who worked under both Republican and Democratic administrations, to sign a letter opposing Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Thomas Pickering, who represented the US in Israel from 1985 to 1988 under former President Ronald Reagan, and Dan Kurtzer, an Orthodox Jew who held that same post from 2001 to 2005 under former President George W. Bush, are each signatories of the newly-released statement affirming that, “None of us will vote for Donald J. Trump.”

“Very simply, this election is different from any election we can recall,” it said. “One of the candidates … is entirely unqualified to serve as President and Commander-in-Chief. He is ignorant of the complex nature of the challenges facing our country.”

The letter is the latest of its kind to be unveiled since Trump took the GOP nomination. In August, 50 former Republican national security officials penned a statement castigating Trump, saying he would make “the most reckless president in American history,” and earlier this month 88 former US military generals inked their support of Trump.

Former US ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer at Princeton University, February 1, 2011 (AP/Mel Evans)
Former US ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer at Princeton University, February 1, 2011 (AP/Mel Evans)

The diplomats who signed the latest letter said that the bombastic billionaire had already harmed US foreign policy: “In his frequent statements about foreign countries and their citizens, from our closest friends to our most problematic competitors, Mr. Trump has expressed the most ignorant stereotypes of those countries; has inflamed their people; and has insulted our allies and comforted our enemies.”

“We fear the damage that such ineptitude could cause in our closest relationships as well as the succor it might offer our enemies,” it added.

The signatories collectively endorsed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the statement. “This is the first time many of us have publicly endorsed a candidate for president,” the letter stated.

Thomas Pickering (Courtesy)
Thomas Pickering (Courtesy)

Some of Clinton’s emails released in January showed that Pickering, who was also once undersecretary of state for political affairs, emailed the nominee during her tenure in Foggy Bottom to recommend the US spark Palestinian protests, led by women, to push Jerusalem into talks.

On December 18, 2011, he suggested that Washington foment Arab Spring-style Palestinian demonstrations to revive the peace process. His idea to have them be female-only, he said, was to keep the eruption from becoming violent.

Upon receiving the message, Clinton asked an aide to print it out.

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